One tomato, two tomato
Yogurt is a staple in my house where we make it by the half gallon. But constantly dipping a spoon in to the big container turns the yogurt into a slimy, runny mess. I’m encouraging my daughter to eat more yogurt, but one look in the tub yields an instant ‘No thanks, Mom.’ Enter, the single-serving yogurt jar. I had never tried making these before without a yogurt maker, but thanks to the arrival of a crockpot in our house, now was the time.
I mixed up a batch of yogurt like I usually do, using a bit of leftover yogurt and whole milk, but then pouring the mix into little jars. I left a little head space in each jar so I could toss in granola, muesli, fruit, nuts or jam later. Then the jars went into a water bath in my crockpot. I wrapped the crockpot in a fluffy towel and waited 6 hours. Into the refrigerator it went, and viola! Portable yogurt.
I used cute little 1/4 pint jelly jars for my 6 year old daughter, who can grab them for breakfast, lunch or a snack whenever she likes, and 1/2 pint jars for the adults. The individual containers are reusable and the yogurt stays fresh and firm for several weeks. Best of all, I used non-homogenized milk, creating a yummy cream top layer. We tore through our first half gallon in one week!
Single-Serving Crockpot Yogurt
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Single-Serving Crockpot Yogurt Recipe
By Tammy Kimbler
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt or yogurt culture
Bring the milk to a simmer, or scalding as Grandma use to say, 185 degrees if you’re keeping track. This heating makes for thicker yogurt by denaturing the proteins.* Let the milk cool to around 117 degrees. Over 120 will kill the culture, under 108 will slow down the process. Add the culture blended with a little cool milk. Pour the mixture into clean glass jars, leaving a little headroom for mix-ins later.
Fill your crockpot vessel with warm water that’s around 112 degrees. You can also heat the water in the crockpot, but I found that warm tap water is quicker. Load your crockpot up with jars. Mine easily fit 8, 1/2 pints and 5, 1/4 pint jars with lids. Check the temp after it’s loaded and adjust with warm or cold water as needed. I just leave a thermometer in the pot. Put the lid on and wrap your TURNED OFF and/or UNPLUGGED crockpot in a fluffy towel for 4-6 hours.* Refrigerate your yogurt for several hours and you’re ready to go.
You can leave your yogurt in the crockpot for longer, but this does tend to produce a more sour product. You can also use lowfat or nonfat milk, but it won’t be as thick and it will taste very sour. For a real treat, try making a version with cream or half and half. Can I say dessert?
*In the mistake department on my second batch of this yogurt, I accidentally left my crockpot on low for several hours with my yogurt starter in it. (I thought it was off!) While no actual harm was done to the milk, and I had to add more yogurt starter, it made for weirdly slimy, viscus yogurt. Edible, but not that pleasant. So do your self a favor and unplug the crockpot!
Known to many for my incredible ability to organize, I tackle gardening and life with equal verve. Obsessive, is that a bad thing?